Tuesday, April 8, 2014

River and Forest and Sky

The early spring flood recedes for now, affording fresh access to the old riparian byway. 
Youthful pines command the ridge on this side of the river, but on the channel's brink dwell the elders, too gnarled or brittle or bowed for the ax and saw; 
stolid old creatures fulfilling their best and highest use; tokens,
 reminders of what trees once were and yet may be...
towering ashes and gums, and the splendid, sprawling smooth-skinned sycamores.

High above the restless eddies, ragged brown blotches mar heaven's somber pall, 
a raucous tangle of branches, roots and vines; 
and just there, another; 
four jumbled nests in an ancient arbor's embrace. 

Before the question is uttered, the answer appears; resplendent reply!

A rookery.

Seated here on high, at the junction of river, forest and sky; 
crude, disheveled cribs, constructed by the aerobat, water walker, winged stalker, 

                                                                            Great Blue Heron.

Wandering wader; solitary seeker of the shallows; 

Denizen of ditch and drain, master of mudflat and marsh, hunter and haunt of lake and pond and river and stream.

Nest builder, food finder, silent sentinel, 

watcher by moonlight and piercer of noonday shadows, 
repeller of cormorant, coon and eagle.

For ages their kin have lived and thrived, born and bred and died, within this boundless realm
of river and forest and sky.

On the brink of tomorrow the river dwellers still are standing;

 standing still, at the junction of river and forest and sky.

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